So, a little over two weeks ago I stated that I was going to try and remove meat from my diet. I was reluctant to say the word vegetarian, however. I couldn’t even say it to my boyfriend, or my family. I told them “I want to eat as little meat as possible.” Yeah, that’s why I went out on payday and bought all of the veggies I could get my hands on. Seriously. I never used to buy so many veggies, and if I did chances are they were frozen. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with frozen veggies, let me start there. But this time around, instead of my frozen corn and brussel sprouts, I got all sorts of lettuces that I’ve never tried, broccoli, carrots, artichokes, green onions, cilantro and that’s just the few that come to the top of my head. I’ve never really had room in my budget for fresh produce because I was saving most of my money for meat.
That’s the first thing I noticed, more money for the things that make me feel good, that until now were a luxury. Really. Artihcokes were a luxury. I couldn’t condone spending a whole dollar on the worlds smallest artichoke, when you only get such a tiny amount to eat from them. I bought two, and it didn’t even hurt. I couldn’t condone spending so much on herbs that I could just grow, so I’ve rarely bought herbs from a store unless they were dried. (And I still think growing them is the preferred method.) I even spent the extra dollar to buy dried beans because you get more in a bag than you do in a can. I’ve never even had a reason to do so until now. But beans are soon to be my main course in at least a few meals, I have the reason to get all fancy with my beans.
Why does it all feel so fancy? Buying fresh produce feels freakin’ fancy right now. And that’s not even considering the food I’ve made with it. Walking out of the super market with a paper bag (one paper bag, already less waste!) full of produce is kind of fancy. That’s what you see in comercials on prime time tv. It feels fancy because meat was always my mian course, meat is expensive, I never had the extra money for the produce to go with the meat, unless it was potatoes and an onion.
So, that’s my shopping experience. Filling up my cart with produce as my boyfriend shops for the biggest piece of meat that he can find that won’t break his wallet and will feed him for a week, I’ve got the whole top part of the cart full and he’s got just one measly package of meat and some cheese in his (and eventually he grabbed greenbeans to make stew). Onto the kitchen. I spent that afternoon cooking.I made myself some sesame noodles, which turned into a few lunches last week. I also made some rice and bean concoction, mixing crushed tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion and carrots into it. This became the stuffing for some tortilla burritos, which became the other half of my lunches for the week. I had already been having overnight oats for breakfast in the mornings, so that was a quick and easy thing to make up every couple of nights. Then I had to figure out something for dinners, which wasn’t terribly hard. One of the nights I went out with my dad and his girlfriend, and I decided to try a veggie calzone with mushrooms, olives and broccoli. That turned out to be delicious, and I have no regrets. I had the two artichokes another night, stir fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, sesame noodles and carrots another night. My favorite by far however was this recipe for roasted four cheese spaghetti squash. I could eat that every day, and I only had to make on change to it. Instead of using chicken boullion, I simply used a few spices I would put on a chicken myself, only because I’m not sure what “chicken powder” is, and that was the main ingredient in the boullion cube.
I’ve found, within the first two weeks, the most important tips a new vegetarian could find. Prep your meals. Always. Prep them, and also, shop for certain recipes. Make sure you’re buying what you need, rather than random things that you’ll throw together later in the week. Make sure what you’re buying can go together, or you risk having to go out again in the week for more ingredients, or whole meals. The second tip I’ve found is to not worry about your label. I feel odd calling myself vegetarian, I am afterall a very very new vegetarian. So am I really a vegetarian? I’m not a seasoned vegetarian anyway, so the word still leaves something of an aftertaste in my mouth. Forget labels. You’re not a vegetarian, you’re not anything. Just a human trying to eat, which happens to be humanities favorite past time, we even do it while experiencing our other favorite past times. When addressing my family, and my new diet, I left out the world vegetarian. They were the first to call me anything, and it was okay. No weird after taste, just pure conversation as I explained the things that turned me onto this new life style.
Turns out, I’m liking this a lot. I’m not finding many difficulties with it, and I’m already seeing good side effects. The most obvious was the money situation. I’m not struggling to keep my cart below a certain amount, in fact I’m struggling to spend everything in the budget. But I’m also mostly headache free, I’ve had one over the past two weeks, which is like an all time low. I’m regular in the bathroom (sorry if that’s tmi, but it’s important even if we don’t talk about it.) I find that I have more energy already, I don’t get tired until sun down, where before I was yawning as early as noon. I’m finding that I’m fuller longer, and when I am full it’s not uncomfortable. I think these are all good things, and I’ll keep you updated on whatever else I notice.
The first two weeks have been successful, and I think this week I’ll be trying a new recipe. Something comforting as we fall into the fall season, litearlly. Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder. I’ll let you all know how it goes!